Blog October 2014

BOATING SAFETY IS IT WORKING?

Posted On: October 23, 2014

SO WHY ALL THE FOCUS ON BOATING SAFETY?

According to the U.S. Coast Guard 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics, boating fatalities that year totaled 651.

 According to the 2013 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics boating fatalities totaled 560 — the lowest number of boating fatalities on record

From 2012 to 2013, deaths in boating-related accidents decreased 14 percent, from 651 to 560, and injuries decreased from 3,000 to 2,620, a 12.7 percent reduction. The total reported recreational boating accidents decreased from 4,515 to 4,062, a 10 percent decrease.

The fatality rate for 2013 of 4.7 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels reflected a 13 percent decrease from the previous year's rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. Property damage totaled approximately $39 million.

The report states alcohol use was the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 16 percent of deaths. Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed and machinery failure ranked as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.

Where the cause of death was known, 77 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned; of those drowning victims, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket. Where boating instruction was known, 20 percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received boating safety instruction. The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats, personal watercraft and cabin motorboats.

The Coast Guard attributes the decrease to better awareness. "We are pleased that there have been fewer accidents on waterways in recent years and thank our partners for their work," said Capt. Jon Burton, director of inspections and compliance at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters. "Together we will continue to stress the importance of life jacket use, boating education courses and sober boating."

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to boat responsibly while on the water: wear a life jacket, take a boating safety course, get a free vessel safety check and avoid alcohol consumption.

  

 

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AVOIDING THAT SINKING FEELING

Posted On: October 16, 2014

WHAT FLOATS YOUR BOAT?

OR KEEPS IT AFLOAT                                 PART II

 Here are some more of the common causes for boat sinkings.

Dock Damage Is All To Common

When the wind starts to blow  if your vessel is not properly secured, the boat will pound against the dock again and again until a hole appears.

Make sure you tie up on the downwind side of the dock so the wind holds you away from the structure. Fenders would also help. Use the round-ball type when up against a flat surface such as a seawall. Use fender boards, a heavy board suspended between two fenders, when you're against pilings.

 Freshwater Flooding

If a fitting fails in the freshwater system, thinking a tap has been opened, your pump senses a reduction in hose pressure and turns on the supply water. This is real bad news if you're hooked up to dockside water, which will keep pumping into the bilge.

Never leave the boat without shutting off the water at the dock. Better yet, disconnect the hose from your boat.

Generator Cooling Intake

If the hose cracked, water flooded, and your boat sank. I hope you're picking up a pattern here about hoses.

Use series 135 heavy-duty water hose-no exceptions. It resists chafe, is reinforced to prevent collapsing, and has a working pressure of up to 200 psi. Quick tip: Rub a damp cloth along the hose. If there are black marks on the rag, the hose is deteriorating.

 Head Intake

 An unprotected head-intake hose running through the engine room bulkhead chafed, then failed.

Do your hoses make as few bends and turns as possible? They should be secured tightly and padded where appropriate.

Head Intake Again

If the water-fill hose connecting the outside of the hull to the head fails, The head, being below the waterline, will fill and so will your boat.

 Besides maintaining the hoses and clamps, make sure you have easy access to the inlet's seacock. Make it a point that when you leave the boat, you shut all the seacocks. Then, if a hose fails, it's no big deal.

Head Discharge

The one-way joker valve on the head's discharge got something in it. You were smart enough to run the discharge hose above the waterline to keep water out but not smart enough to remember how a siphon works.

To prevent a reverse flow, when you run any hose above the waterline, remember to install a vented loop fitting at the top of the loop. This lets air in to prevent a siphon. Use fittings that let you disassemble the valve each season to make sure it's clear and working.

Check-Valve Backflow

Since the through-hull is mounted so low to the waterline, a clever mechanic put a one-way check valve on your bilge pump's exhaust hose to keep the sea out. But what happens if it fails. Check valves are proven to be unreliable and can get stuck open. Route the pump's exhaust hose as high as possible to a through-hull near the rubrail. If it must go to a low outlet, run the hose up inside the boat as high as possible, install an anti-siphon valve at the top of the loop, and run it to a seacock that you can close.

Ice in Sea Strainer

What Happened: When it was time to winterize, you put antifreeze everywhere except in the strainer at the raw-water intake. Then you left the boat with the seacocks open. The water in the strainer froze, expanded, and cracked the strainer. Water can come in and the boat will go down.

Make sure you close the seacock and open the strainer's drain plug to empty it of water. Then fill the hose and strainer with anti-freeze, because you never get all the water out and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Corrosion

Over the years, the dissimilar metals below the waterline have been eating each other-giving them an internal structure that's similar to Swiss cheese. Eventually, a slight nudge caused one to fail.

I prefer that stainless steel or bronze be used below the waterline. But no matter what, all metals must be protected. If your bronze seacock is turning pink, it's falling apart. All underwater fittings should be bonded to each other with a number 10-gauge green wire, and sacrificial zincs should be used. Check annually.

Speedometer Plug

 Good move pulling the Pitot tube for a cleaning. D’ont forgot to re-plug the hole.

Even with a plug, you can get a leak. Rubber O-rings can deform or come loose from their tracks. Put some grease on the rings to ensure long life and a good seal.

 Hose Slips Off Seacock Nipple
After a day of wave bashing, the shakes and vibrations worked a hose off an open seacock.

If there's room to put two hose clamps on each fitting, do it. Have the excess ring material exit in a different direction on each.

Rubrails

Be aware that from the many bangs against pilings, the screws, bolts, rivets, or adhesive that holds the rubrail in place has come loose. Plow into too many head seas or sit through a rainstorm and water will get below.

At the end of each season, walk around the boat blasting the hull-to-deck joint with a hose. Have someone inside to watch for leaks.

Muffler Rot
Water can sit in a low point and rot the muffler. Waves at the dock can come in the transom exhaust ports and go directly into the boat.

Feel under the mufflers or risers for moisture. They will ooze dampness months before giving way.

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FIGHT THAT SINKING FEELING

Posted On: October 14, 2014

WHAT FLOATS YOUR BOAT?

 Or keeps it afloat......

Here’s some cold hard facts about boating mishaps involving sinking..

 According to BoatUS, the largest insurer of pleasure boats in the country, for every boat that sinks at sea, four go down in their slips. That’s a fairly amazing stat.

 Why?

 The sad truth is you don't have to have a rendezvous with a rock to get a one-way ticket down to the bottom. In fact, you don't have to do anything. Just let your boat sit awhile, and eventually it will find the bottom.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

PART I

As the storage season approaches for many of us, I offer some of the more common causes for boat sinking’s and things to explore and some tips on how to avoid the symptoms.

Avoiding sinking 

Store your stern drive in the down position when out of the water to avoid the bends and creases that stress rubber. Inspect the bellows two or three times a year and replace it annually.

 Scuppers in the Fall & Winter

 The scuppers can get clogged with leaves. This won't seal the drains, but it can greatly slow the release of water. In a heavy rain storm, the cockpit can fill enough to weigh down the boat so it floods or accumulates enough water to reach non-waterproof openings in the deck and fill the bilge.

 Keep the cockpit covered, or have wide-mesh external screens made to protect the scuppers.

 If you don’t, when snow falls and ice builds up around the scuppers, they will fill. Since this occurs under the snow, you won’t see it. The added weight of the snow and ice will cause the boat to sink. Haul out for the winter, or have a waterproof, reinforced cover that can take the weight of accumulated snow

While the boat is on land, check the hoses by flexing them back and forth. If there are any cracks, replace the hoses. And while its out of the water, inspect the plumbing. Look for apiece of plumbing corroded, cracked, or just weak. The weakest link is the hose that can crack, most often around the stress points created by the clamps.

 Hose Clamp Failure

Inspect your hose clamps. A hose attached to a seacock below the waterline, or a through-hull just above it, can came off its fitting because the hose clamps gave way. The result could be extremely wet. Secure each hose with two clamps where it passes over the fitting's nipple. Check that the clamps are all stainless steel (a magnet won't attract stainless). Often, the tightening gear and its case are mild steel, which rusts away.

 Stuffing Box

 The packing gland surrounding the prop shaft loosened. Or perhaps it rotted away as it hadn't been replaced for many seasons.

Dripless shaft seals that require minimal maintenance are used by 90 percent of today's boatbuilders. But many boaters still use old-fashioned stuffing boxes on the rudder shafts. Check stuffing boxes often, and replace.

 Trapped Under a Dock

 You tied up the boat at low tide. The wind pushed part of the boat under the dock, the tide came up, and the boat became trapped beneath the dock, then took on water and eventually sank.

 This can happen when the pilings supporting the dock are too far apart to keep the boat parallel to the dock and out from under it. No matter how many dock lines you rig, this will be a problem. If you can't dock elsewhere else, set anchors out from the bow and stern so the boat won't swing.

 Tied Down, Tide Up

At low tide, your bow and stern lines were tight. When the tide came up, the lines stayed that way-firmly holding the boat down as the water rose.

Long spring lines attached at acute angles to the boat adjust as the boat rises and falls. Bow and stern lines may have to be tended as the tide goes through its cycle.

 

MORE ON THURSDAY IN PART II  

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WHAT BOAT STORAGE METHOD WORKS BEST

Posted On: October 09, 2014

Boat storage methods are numerous and can be simple,. Here are some of the advantages  and disadvantages of the three most common methods to store your boat..

1. Backyard Storage

Many boat owners opt to cover their trailer- able boats and store them in their yards over the winter. Keeping the boat in your yard is usually the least expensive and most convenient, but extreme care should be taken to choose the right cover.

Boat cover prices can range from under $200 to over $3,000 for a custom cover. Most Boat Industry Experts generally agree that purchasing a high-end boat cover is the best way to go. If you purchase a cheap cover that doesn't allow enough airflow it can promote mildew, causing problems and costing more further down the road. Choose the best cover you can afford with a fabric that is strong, breathable and water-resistant. If your budget allows, a custom cover and frame is a worthwhile investment.

2. Boatyard Shrink-wrapped

Shrink-wrapping will keep your boat dry and well ventilated, meaning less chance of mildew. Almost all Boat yards specialize in shrink-wrapping boats. If you wish,  you can purchase do-it-yourself kits at marine stores for boats 25 feet and under.

The downside to shrink-wrap is you will be unable to work on your boat during the winter. If this isn't a problem, it may be the option you will want to choose if you don't have space for a trailering and storing your boat at home.

3. Indoor Storage

Options abound with indoor boat storage. Unheated or heated. Climate controlled or not. The obvious pro in storing your boat at an indoor facility is protection from the elements and having access to your boat during the winter months. The downside is that storing your boat at an indoor facility is usually costly and they usually dictate when you can have access to the boat.

Just remember when choosing a winter boat storage method, choose the solution that provides the best protection for your boat investment at the price and accessibility you can most afford.

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THREE WORDS SHOULD GUIDE YOU ON THE WATER

Posted On: October 02, 2014

Operate, Navigate, and Communicate

These three simple statements should guide you when you are out on the water.

Operate 

Your number one job is to operate your boat responsibly!!

Nothing should distract you from that. I understand how difficult it can be at times. You are out for a great day of fishing with your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, Your spouse is going on and on you for a new car to get the kids to soccer practice or your boyfriend/girlfriend won’t leave you alone about the tickets for the upcoming concert. A big fish has just hit your  line and your thoughts go to catching it.

Are you still thinking about your boat?

 You get the idea. Remember, stay focused.

You still are responsible for the safety of the boat and everyone on board.

Navigate

You must, at all times, know where you are and where you are going.

 And by that I mean something more accurate than just knowing the name of the body of water you are on or proudly telling your guests; "That’s America over there". At least sharpen your skills to the point that you can proclaim with some certainty "That’s Montauk, (I think)".

Communicate

Always, .always,  always …..

Whenever you are in doubt, communicate!

Don’t worry that you will sound stupid asking someone what the clearance of that bridge is up ahead?

 Think about how stupid you will look when the mast of your boat is in the cockpit with you. Not sure what the intentions of that tug and tow heading directly at you are?

ASK!

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